Setting In Fiction – A Real Life Lesson | Marylee MacDonald

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers, Setting

Setting in fiction is inextricably bound up with character. On a cold winter day I learned this important lesson about the “relatedness” of character and setting from a young Navaho. Creighton Begay lived with his uncle in the most inaccessible part of Canyon de Chelly. Each fall he and his uncle brought in supplies by […]

Tension Skyrockets When You Tweak the Setting

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

Use setting to heighten tension in a story. Put a character in a place she or he doesn’t feel physically or psychologically comfortable, and you immediately inject tension into the scenes. Will she or won’t she figure out how to cope? In my story “Oregano,” Janice Dawkins comes in at the end of a long […]

Notebooks: The One Item Every Writer Needs

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Writing notebooks from other creative people can inspire us to keep track of our own creative thoughts. On the tab called Writing Notebooks, I lay out the general idea of keeping a writing notebook, but I want to go into a little more detail here. That’s because it’s so important for writers at any stage […]

What A Train Can Teach Us About Life

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers

      If life is a journey, The Millennial Trains Project is one train I’d like to board. This train brings together people from very different backgrounds and teaches them how to take charge of their own destinies. The Trains Project is happening all over the globe, and even celebrated at the White House. […]

Are You Ready for Your First Book Festival?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Who Need Readers

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Your book is out. Now, you have a chance to sell directly to readers. One of the best places to do that is a book festival. The Payson Book Festival in Payson, AZ provided an opportunity for me to see how other writers sold their books. Next time I try […]

Writing Tips Every Author Needs

Writing tips can help you discover the one small change that will make a difference. Writing is as much about the habit of writing as about what you write. If you’re a morning person, write at dawn. Night-owls write after everyone goes to bed. The important thing is to honor your unique gifts. Find your […]

Getting Published Is Not As Difficult As You Think

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Photo Source Ready to submit your work for publication, but not sure where to start? Getting published is not as difficult as you think. Many writers, me included, started by submitting stories to literary magazines. Though publishing in a lit mag will, most likely, not bring you any cash, publication brings other rewards. You can […]

Writing Notebooks: Are You Keeping One?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

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Writing notebooks are an integral part of a writer’s daily practice. If you keep a writing notebook, you’ll have an infinite source of fresh material to generate stories or to help you recall details of a place you visited. Here’s a visual example of how I use my notebooks. I had scheduled a writing getaway […]

Historical Fiction’s Biggest Pitfalls

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

If you’re writing historical fiction, don’t fall into the info-dumping trap. You love all those bits and pieces of info you’ve discovered, but your reader will have a hard time keeping an eye on the story if you can’t restrain yourself. Limit yourself to one or two protagonists–one, preferably. Let that person experience life as […]

Characters and Making Them Real

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Photo Source All fiction revolves around characters, such as Mr. Peggotty in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. Characters must engage us emotionally, or they become like wallpaper, flattened figures we don’t really care about. Alternately, they can appear cartoonish, as in the illustration above. Have you heard the phrase “well drawn” used about certain characters? That’s […]